The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Not your typical mooncakes

emkay's picture

Not your typical mooncakes

Every year my parents receive many gifts of mooncakes in the days leading up to the Mid-Autumn Festival. Most of the time they are the traditional mooncakes filled with lotus seed paste and salted egg yolks. I thought I would try baking a different sort of mooncake to bring to my family's gathering. I call them American-style mooncakes. I made a trail mix inspired one and a coconut one. Mooncakes need to be baked at least a day (and preferably 2 days) before serving. Freshly baked ones do not have the correct texture since the pastry shell is still too crispy. The resting period allows the pastry shell to "return to oil" which just means that the skin will soften a bit.


Mooncake Pastry Dough

130 g all-purpose flour (10.5% protein level)

90 g Lyle's Golden Syrup

30 g canola oil

1/4 tsp alkaline water (aka kan sui which is a solution of sodium bicarbonate and potassium carbonate)*

* Note: Although a bottle of kan sui is very inexpensive, I didn't want to buy a whole bottle since I needed such a tiny amount. So I dissolved 1/2 tsp of baking soda in 1 tbsp of water and used 1/4 tsp of my solution instead of the 1/4 tsp kan sui.


1. Mix syrup, oil and alkaline water.

2. Sift flour into a mixing bowl and add wet ingredients. Mix to form a soft dough.

3. Cover and let dough rest at room temp for 30-60 minutes.

4. Divide the dough into 10 balls each weighing approximately 25 g. (This is scaled for my miniature mooncake mold.)


"Trail Mix" Filling

70 g almond meal (or chopped almonds)

80 g walnut, toasted and finely chopped

20 g sunflower seeds, toasted

50 g dried sour cherries, chopped

60 g kor fun (aka cooked glutinuous rice flour)

50 g water

20 g granulated sugar

20 g canola oil

10 g walnut oil

10 g sesame seeds (I didn't have any so I used tahini.)


1. Mix all ingredients.

2. Divide filling into 10 balls each weighing approximately 35 g. (This is scaled for my miniature mooncake mold.)


Egg Wash:   1 egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon of water or milk


1. Preheat oven to 375F.

2. Flatten the pastry dough and wrap it around the filling. Try your best to completely enclose the filling with the dough.


3. Put it into your mooncake mold to shape it. (I used a plastic mooncake mold with a plunger.)

4. Place shaped mooncake on sheet pan.



5. Bake at 375F for 8 minutes.

6. Remove from oven and let them cool for 5 minutes, then brush on the egg wash.

7. Lower oven heat to 350F and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

8. Cool for 10 minutes on sheet pan then remove to cooling rack.

9. When completely cool, store in an airtight container for at least 24 hours before serving.



I also made some coconut mooncake "cookies" using wooden cookie mold to shape them. I call them cookies because they are much flatter than mooncakes.



I used cake flour instead of all-purpose flour in my dough for the coconut ones so the dough ended up too soft. As a result, my baked cookies did not keep the carved details of the mold, but they were still delicious. They tasted like a coconut macaroon inside a mooncake pastry shell.



:) Mary


AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11 (not verified)

I want one :)

emkay's picture

Thanks Abe. I will I could teleport one to you but they're all gone!

Mebake's picture

They look beautiful and I'm sure quite delicious. Nice work Mary!

Reminds me of Ma'moul, the traditional stuffed cake usually served on special occasions and holidays. We use the same wooden mold. semolina, however, is used instead of all purpose flour.


emkay's picture

Hi Khalid, I Googled ma'moul and they look delicious. I can see the similarities to mooncakes. I bookmarked a couple recipes and added them to my growing list of things to try baking. 

Kiseger's picture

Amazing, they are really beautiful and look really yummy.  I love the look of the trail mix filling.  Really impressive, well done Mary!!

emkay's picture

My niece actually came up with the name "trail mix" mooncake. Kids tell it like it is. :) 

dabrownman's picture

Mid-Autumn Festival was all about (Monday Sept 8 th this year)It was fun to read about the archer who shot down the 9 extra moons and was rewarded with a pill of immortality only to have have his wife find it and take it - which got her banned to the moon that wasn't shot down.  I think this proves that people everywhere will make up anything to justify a party with dancing drinking and Moon Cake eating contests!

Your version for the dough is an unusual one from what I can tell and very simple compared to most that have some kind of chemical leavening in them.   I like your fillings a lot better than lotus poppy seed or bean paste.  I didn't know what they were then but now i know why they were so expensive at Lee Lee's Chinese market this week - at $20 for a box of 4 in a nice red and gold box - ouch

Lucy wants to make these in sourdough and wants me to buy her a mold to make them like she doesn't have enough equipment already:-)  I told her she could make a stamp by carving out half of a potato and haven't seen her since then......

Your moon cakes look 'moony' enough for the beautiful lady dancing on the dark side of the moon!

Well done and happy Mid-Autumn Festival to you and yours.

emkay's picture

Like many holidays and festivals, there is some kind of fantastical story behind it. It makes them fun to celebrate, don't ya' think? Mooncakes, especially the quality ones, can get extremely pricey. This year a good friend gave my parents a box of 8 mooncakes from a Hong Kong bakery. I heard it cost $150 (USD)!! 

Floydm's picture

So nice.  May I feature this for a bit?

emkay's picture

Hi Floyd, Of course you can feature this. :) Thanks!

wassisname's picture

I've never heard of these either, but they look fantastic and sound delicious. What a treat! I love the trail mix inspired filling. Thank you for sharing!

emkay's picture

They were delicious. I think they are kind of an acquired taste. I didn't like mooncakes as a child, but I love them now.  Thanks Marcus!

Janetcook's picture



emkay's picture

I still need practice molding them, but I think they turned out well for a first attempt. Thanks Janet!

grdresme's picture

Wow. I'm awed. And I have a new kind of pastry to try. Thank you very much for inspiring me with your Mooncakes. *tips hat* 


emkay's picture

Hi grdresme, One of the many reasons I love TFL is learning about new kinds of bread and pastry.  Glad that I can provide some inspiration.

Isand66's picture


I wish I could try these.  When I have been in China I've never had any as pretty or tasty as  yours!


emkay's picture

Thanks Ian!

PetraR's picture

They all look sooooooooo good!

emkay's picture

They were indeed good. Thanks Petra!

PetraR's picture

I would love to try my hands on making them but would not know where to get those forms, they looks so pretty.

I am in the Uk, I might do some google for them:)

flouryhands's picture

Thank you for sharing the recipe.  I have never seen these type of cakes before and I'm inspired enough to have a go at making them myself - the trail mix filling sounds lovely!

I've had a quick search on the 'net to find the moulds but not sure what size I should be looking for - what size did you use?

emkay's picture

The mold I used for the trail mix ones is similar to this one:

It holds about 50g and measures 1.75-inch (4.5cm) diameter x 1.75-inch (4.5cm) height.

flouryhands's picture

Thank you - I'll look out for something similar of that size.

JohnAka's picture

The link did not work, but type I mooncakes and the molds appear. This inspires me to actually use some of the molds I have collected over the years. Thanks! 

Edo Bread's picture
Edo Bread

These really look great and delicious. Would love to try one!

Hippytea's picture

So pretty!


Maybe I need a mooncake mould. What do you think? I think so. I've never had a mooncake, but that's a minor detail.

greedybread's picture

They both look divine but being more of a coconut girl, I would make the coconut ones:) Both are soooooo pretty! 

Greggy_bread's picture

The trail mix filling is surely not a million miles from a traditional 五仁馅 though? That is the best mooncake filling of all!

Mark Robertson's picture
Mark Robertson

These look very tasty.

Dutchess's picture

Hi Em,

The mooncake image popped up in the right side-bar, which intrigued me to read your post and save your recipe. I have been looking at the pastry malls for quite some time, now I have a good reason to go for it and make them.



anniechanleong's picture

Do you know how to make ping pei mooncake? What about the regular filling, do you have a recipe for that?

the hadster's picture
the hadster

checking Amazon.

MimiLea's picture

Thank you for sharing this-i m definitely going to make both of them! The best i’ve ever had were coconut ones from a bakery in Shanghai, never to be found again.... until now! 

ProfessionalBreadInspectors25's picture

No words just wow...

-The Bread Inspectors

(Ps: Label it as mouth watering next time)